When is the best time to buy a home?

Do you feel ready to buy a home but have heard mixed opinions on whether you should buy a home in the current market?

Or, are you unsure if you’re ready and looking for advice for the best time to buy a house?

What's in this article?

Factors that affect home buying
When is the best time of year to buy a home?
What about the current market?
How do I know if Im ready to buy a home?
Apply today for pre-approval with Compass Mortgage

If you’re in either of these scenarios or a similar one, we have good news for you: The decision to buy a home is based more on you than on any external factors. That means you ultimately have control over the best time to buy.

In this article, we will share some general advice on the best time of year to buy a home. We’ll also take a look at other homebuying factors—including how to know when you’re ready to buy.

Factors that affect home buying

Homebuyers must consider a few factors to determine the best time to buy a house.

The timing generally depends on the following:

  • Your personal goals and finances
  • The state of the economy and overall market conditions
  • The time of year

For the most part, the media focuses on mortgage rates, home prices and the time of year as the defining factors for whether someone should buy a home.

While these are factors worth considering, they are largely out of our control. It’s most helpful to focus on what we can change about our personal financial situation to help the homebuying process.

That being said, let’s take a deeper look at each of these factors.

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When is the best time of year to buy a home?

The best time of year to buy a house isn’t always a guarantee. If we look at the past few years during the Covid-19 pandemic, we can find evidence of that.

However, there are some general cycles and trends that occur during certain seasons.

Spring and Summer

Spring and summer are considered hot markets.

Generally, inventory is higher in the spring and summer—but so is competition.

More homes tend to go on the market in the spring, meaning more options for all hopeful buyers.

These seasons can be a good time to buy a home, but be prepared to move quickly through the process and make sure your offer stands out.

We recommend getting pre-approved for a mortgage so you can lock in a rate and be ready as soon as the home of your dreams comes on the market.

Fall and Winter

Fall and winter are considered more favorable for buyers. While spring and summer lean toward a seller’s market, fall and winter are tilted toward buyers.

During the fall, demand is slower, but there’s still a nice selection of homes left on the market. Many experts consider fall to be the ideal homebuying season, depending on a buyer’s local market.

In the winter, the market tends to cool down significantly. Buyers are generally less active because kids are back in school, the weather is colder and the holidays are approaching.

As a result, both inventory and demand are lower. However, you may have a much easier time purchasing a home, because sellers are eager to sell and real estate agents have more time to dedicate to each buyer.

What about the current market?

The recent U.S. housing market complicated the typical market cycles, but it hasn’t resulted in the crisis that many feared.

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, mortgage rates hit record lows and demand was intensely high.

These factors drove home prices to record highs, while demand remained heightened for several months and inventory plunged.

The normal seasons of buyer and seller markets were less defined because buyers were eager to get a house at any time of year.

Economic challenges have caused mortgage rates to steadily rise over the past several months, as home prices also rose to levels that forced many buyers to back off.

Now, this natural progression has allowed a normal order to slowly return. As demand lowers, inventory has had some time to catch up; and home prices have started to come down.

It’s important to note that while this progression occurred throughout the nation, it still was not everyone’s experience. 

Ultimately, local markets have been affected in different ways, meaning that in some markets it has been relatively easy to find and purchase a home, while in others, it has been nearly impossible.

Still, the most important factor in the decision to buy a home always rests with the individual borrower.

How do I know if Im ready to buy a home?

The real estate market’s ebbs and flows may always be unpredictable, which is why borrowers must focus on the elements of the buying process that they can control.

The marker for being ready to buy a house depends on the answers to the following questions:

  • Do you have a good credit score?
  • Do you have steady, reliable income and employment?
  • Can you make a significant down payment?
  • Are your high-interest debts under control?
  • Do you understand your loan options?
  • Do you have additional savings for closing costs, home repairs and maintenance?

If you’re feeling confident in your financial situation, the market’s influence is much less important.

While it can be helpful to understand how the market works, it shouldn’t be the defining factor in your decision.

Apply today for pre-approval with Compass Mortgage

You don’t have to be in the perfect financial state to connect with a trusted mortgage lender.

Many buyers don’t know that the first step of the homebuying process is getting pre-approved for a mortgage.

Before you even find your dream home, connecting with a mortgage lender will help you understand your loan options and what you can comfortably afford. Then, you can begin house hunting with confidence.

Compass Mortgage’s Get Committed® program provides a fully underwritten loan commitment and locks in your interest rate before you even find the property you want to buy. 

A loan commitment essentially has the power of a cash offer, showing the seller you’re fully approved financially and that your deal isn’t likely to fall through.

Apply today with the Compass Mortgage team to secure your future. Together, we’ll find the most affordable loan for your home.

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